Friday, June 21, 2013
In my rear view mirror I could see the rows of cotton melting in the distance. The beauty of the dewy fields blurring from my tears. It was one of the first times I sobbed audibly as an adult. It was certainly not the last.
I was 19 and I was leaving my hometown, Cairo, for the last time... I thought. My dad had a new job and by the next time I had a school break, my family would have moved. This little town was where I had grown up. It's where I learned to roller skate and played with dolls much longer then my friends. It's where I got braces and my first kiss. Where i had slumber parties and got my drivers license. Where I learned to forge deep friendships and to dream about the future. It is where I decided as a young teen that I would keep my childhood commitment to follow Jesus. Even if it cost me.
You can't believe how surprised I was four years later, when this good looking guy who asked me to dance at my college roommates wedding, turned out to be a new pastor at a church in... yep, you guessed it- Cairo! I was amazed as I watched God's plan unfold. We were married, and I moved back to my old alma mater within one year.
Now, I am a swirl of emotions as once again I am watching God's plan unfold in my family. We finds ourselves at a turn in the road. We are sure our walk with Him is leading us to a new home. A new community. A new adventure.
But even as the days and weeks accelerate towards our departure, I know I will grieve the loss of my life here and the closeness of those who have opened up your precious hearts to us. Now this isn't just the place I grew up, it's the place where we were newlyweds and bought our first house. Where I brought my precious daughter Makiah, my first miracle baby, home. Where she lived and laughed and loved. This is the only place where she is real. People here have memories of her... She isn't just a picture, an idea. Here she is a person. And people here know her.
I will never forget how this community embraced us in our brokenness. How flowers and love and people poured in that church where the little white casket lay. You flooded us with food and gifts, and we survived on the words of encouragement. You whispered to us that there was hope of happiness and life in the world still. You helped us to build wells and you painted thousands of toes rainbow colors even a year later in her memory. And just this week I ran into a lady wearing her well charm necklace!
Thank you for caring. Thank you for wrapping us up in a blanket of love to warm us when we thought our hearts would freeze to death from the bitter cold of grief. To my church family, especially, thank you for letting me plunge into the darkness instead of chasing the setting sun. Facing the darkness was the fastest way back to the light. You never asked me to pretend I was somewhere I wasn't. You let me heal.
I will not forget. The prayers, the rainbow quilt, the painting, the flowers on special days, the CDs, the notes, the stories of your children who remember her, the butterfly bench and garden, the rainbow toes, the beautiful cross stitches, the many well charms worn, the songs written for her, the hugs, the tears, the smiles. The memory of your loved is etched forever in our hearts. And today it is seen on my tear stained face as I write these words and prepare to see this precious place disappear in the rear view mirror once again.
I am comforted by the knowledge that I am but a sojourner here in this world. Although I am leaving home again, I am really just moving one step closer to my real home in heaven. And I smile through the tears when I think of the many joyous visits to come when I will sit down with so many of you and my sweet Makiah in our heavenly home to reflect on His goodness. Knowing you and being part of your lives has brought so much of that goodness to mine!
We, the King family, are eternally grateful.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Communion. Rapport. Oneness.
The room is half lit. Waves pound the shore outside. The dishes piled high. But our bellies are full and our hearts are more full. Our laughter comes in bursts, and we are afraid we will wake the children already tucked in their beds. We hold our breath and listen for a cry before the raucous laughter escapes from our lips again.
This place is safe. It feels like being home. Even though we are all out of town. We share each other and faith and the little ones. Our faults and our strengths. We are far from perfect and that is okay. Because in our weakness He is made strong. Because we are family.
Communion. An act or instance of sharing.
A hush comes over the table and someone suggests we say why we are thankful. For the cross. Like popcorn the answers come. Continual renewal. Forgiveness for all our sins, past, present, and future. That in Christ our best days are always ahead of us. For His strength that we can rest in. For hope that we will see Makiah again. That this life is truly the dream before we awake. To eternity. With Him.
Communion. The eucharist.
We break the bread. Because He was broken for us. Because you don't have to be in a church building to be the church. It reminds me that we are broken. We have felt the deep searing pain of brokenness. The ripping and tearing that is evidence of the broken world we live in. We marvel. That a king would offer himself to step into this place and be torn to pieces for us. For me. For you.
We drink the juice and remember that more than juice has been poured out. An offering. An exchange. A life for a life. The life is in the blood they say. Who would give their very essence to save another? What master trades places with his servant? But we each have met the answer. People can argue with ideas. But these lives in this room, this hope, this laughter springing up out of brokenness. Who can argue with this?
This living Communion.